I know some people feel that nasi padang is pretty much the same no matter which stall you go to. After all, all it is, is various curry-based and other complementary dishes eaten with rice. How different can it be? Well, I appreciate that there may not be a vast difference, unlike how bad Jap food can really be bad, but at the same time, I think a good nasi padang place does somehow stand out.
The original River Valley Nasi Padang joint is located along Zion Road; park at Great World City opposite and just run across the road (or use the pedestrian crossing about 50 metres away). I’m sure this isn’t the best nasi padang in Singapore, but I have a weakness for their chicken curry, or more specifically, the gravy. It’s rich and thick, but still watery enough to drink up like a soup. The chicken is really soft and tender, and the gravy is all at once salty, sweet, sour and spicy. It reminds me of the curry chicken that I used to have when I was young, when my family used to go to Rendezvous restaurant (where Rendezvous Hotel is now) almost every Sunday for lunch.
We had a late lunch there on Saturday, and ordered the chicken curry, beef rendang, sayur lodeh and a tomato-curry based sotong.
Some people, like K, swear by the sambal belacan that they provide here as well. While it is pretty good, I’ll still stick to asking for an extra bowl of the chicken curry gravy, and drowning everything in it. I lapped up almost every drop. Mmm….
I’d disagree with C because you really can get really bad nasi padang (of the rock hard rendang and tasteless curry water variety). I generally group my nasi padang as really bad, okay or very good.
I can’t decide if this or the Warong Nasi Padang place at North Bridge Road is better. I think this place may have better gravy while Warong has better chicken. But I guess for overall convenience, this place would win (Warong is a chaotic madhouse that closes at 2pm because everything sells out so fast).
River Valley Nasi Padang
54 Zion Road
Opening hours: 9am - 9pm (closed on public holidays and possibly Mondays as well)